Digitalization of shop floor management: In blissful ignorance of superfluous work

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With the purpose of understanding the extent of superfluous work and, thereby, suggesting managerial opportunities for reducing superfluous work, this paper focuses on decision-making processes at the shop floor level in digitalized manufacturing companies. Superfluous work is a kind of hidden waste and comprises the gap between necessary work and the work that is actually carried out, either on handling daily tasks at the shop floor, accomplishing decision-making processes, or implementing workarounds. By using an abductive approach, the research systematically combines a theoretical conceptualization of shopfloor decision-making processes in smart-manufacturing with an empirical enquiry into a highly digitalized manufacturing company. The paper reveals superfluous work if the decision-making process involves collaboration across disciplines and/or organizational boundaries. Superfluous work occurs because of a lack of data and information to guide re°ective thinking and knowledge sharing. In relation to highly complex decision-making, the ongoing implementation of workarounds also causes superfluous work. Prerequisites for reducing superfluous work are enhancing the accessibility of applicable data to guide re°ective thinking and knowledge sharing at the shopfloor level.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Industrial Integration and Management
Pages (from-to)333-352
Number of pages20
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© World Scientific Publishing Co.

    Research areas

  • Decision-making, Knowledge sharing, Shopfloor management, Smart-manufacturing, Superfluous work

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